Now in its ninth year, the European Press Prize commends and awards excellence in journalism in 47 countries in Europe during a time when, unfortunately, the quality of journalistic reporting is becoming more and more difficult to maintain due to pressures brought about by a changing market and the fragility of press freedom.
There are four categories: Distinguished Reporting, Investigative Reporting, Innovation and Opinion. Because of the current events in Belarus, the jury decided to exceptionally award the Belarusian journalists for their work that was carried out in politically hostile and unsafe conditions.
"I have spent a lot of time completely absorbed by these pieces. So many brave, creative, innovative and talented projects on this year's European Press Prize shortlist. All of them terrific – it was difficult to decide," commented Alan Rusbridger, chair of the panel of judges.
This year’s winners come from different countries in Central and Eastern Europe -- with the exception of Maldita (a piece from Spain, which won the Innovation Award). Their articles talk about the political and social issues that shook their respective countries:
- Janusz Schwertner for Love in the time of plague that addresses transphobia and child suicide in Poland. He won the Distinguished Reporting Award.
- Maldita.es received the Innovation award for their newest project: a chatbot Whatsapp that fact-checks information.
- Iván Zsolt Nagy (Hungary) received the Opinion award for When Trianon hurts differently on the subject of the Trianon peace treaty.
- Roman Anin, winner of the Investigative Reporting Award for his piece Kirill and Katya: Love, offshores, and administrative resources. How marrying Putin's daughter gave Kirill Shamalov a world of opportunity that led to his arrest. He was briefly detained and interrogated by the Russian police, an action suspected to be motivated by revenge for these investigations into the Kremlin elite.
- Last but not least, the 2021 Special Award goes to the brave and independent journalists working in Belarus, represented by the shortlisted project Brutalised Minsk: how Belarusian police beat protesters, by Anastasiya Boika, Maxim Litavrin, David Frenkel, Yegor Skovoroda, Maria Tolstova, Nikita Shulaev, Dmitrii Treshchanin. The data-driven report focused on the violence committed by the Belarussian police during the anti-Lukashenko rallies. This award acquired a special importance in light of the recent events that took place in Belarus, with the recent arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega, after their Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was diverted and forced to land in Minsk.
The 2021 panel of judges was composed of Alan Rusbridger (former editor-in-chief of the Guardian), Alexandra Föderl-Schmid (of Süddeutsche Zeitung), Juan Luis Sánchez (of eldiario.es), Sylvie Kauffmann (of Le Monde) and Sheila Sitalsing (of De Volkskrant)
Based in Amsterdam, the award was created in 2012 by seven European media foundations (The Guardian Foundation, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Jyllands-Posten Foundation, Politiken Foundation, Media Development Investment Fund, Vereniging Veronica and Stichting Democratie en Media. The Irish Times Trust Limited, Agora SA and the Luminate organisation were added in 2015, 2017 and 2020 respectively).
Listen to the Road to ereb podcast episode where host Alexander Damiano Ricci talks with our Editor-in-chief Gian-Paolo Accardo about the collaboration between Voxeurop and the European Press Prize, and the coverage of news from Belarus and Central and Eastern Europe in general in Western European news media:Listen to "Ep 4 - A chat with Gianpaolo Accardo (ed. in chief Voxeurop), Angelo Boccato & Alessandro Mariscalco (Post Brexit News Explosion)" on Spreaker.
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